2.16.2014

A Rather FENTASTIC Bimble with Carl and his two children round Fen Drayton Lakes

Sun 16th Feb 2014 - Fen Drayton Lakes

See what I did there with that title?

Grace Slick - White rabbit 
(But Orange Jelly Babies do the same)

T'was rather disappointing to not make the trip to Windemere
(we will have to do the Howgills as well, another time),
with Carl and Lynsey last week.

 Having said that, the weather was SHIT.

And my Calf Muscle was nowhere near ready due to my own repeated stupidity the previous week.

So since the water levels were up, and I had tweeted Carl for a short walk round the converted gravel pits (now Fen Drayton Lakes), we agreed to meet up at 10.30 (ish) and go for a short walk.

I managed to persuade my daughter Harriet to come as well.
It was a close call.
She had only got up just after nine, and getting ready for H (I love her really) does take place on a Galactic Timescale.

But at 10.15 only 10 minutes late, we set off on the short drive to meet Carl.
Luckily when we got there 5 minutes late, Carl was not there either.

But he turned up a couple of minutes later and we headed up to the small car Park along the track


It was under water!
So we turned around and parked up along the old track a few hundred metres (yards in old money)  and went for a short walk.
We had a look in the car park.
Just long enough for small children and one big one to wade in the flooded water. Carl's two children Hope and Ashley were getting used to my two dogs
 (Jasper 13 years & Hamish 21 months).

Well, Kind of.

 Jasper has a fine smile that is mainly huge teeth.

He was a lot younger in this photo.
BUT......
That is a smile honest.
Not ideally seen as a smile by the average small child I grant you.
"ALL THE BETTER TO ..... You with My Dear"

Hamish is young, exuberant and fundamentally MANIC.

We strolled a rather short distance up an extremely muddy track.

The dogs marauded.

I have pilfered a couple of Carl's Tweeted pictures here. Hope that is OK Carl


Carl's 2 little ones Hope & Ashley.
Great Kids.
(OK, he did take them home after)
Me (NOT IN PARAMO)
And Harriet behind stuck in the mud.
Carl's children and Harriet's feet got stuck in the mud.

Wellies were likely to get lost.

And after about 300 metres of MUD, we encountered 3 foot deep water all the way across.

Jasper (Right) and Hamish
That water is the path.
And the water was nearly 3 ft deep
About face and back we went.

Maybe that wider gravel track to the right near the cars may be a better idea????

We had a rather fine short walk along the track, observing a lot of water and bird life on both sides, and eventually after avoiding far too many people who thought it was much easier to drive bloody everywhere in a car (lazy bastards), we came to the guided bus crossover track.

We stopped here, and I dug out and fed Carl's children Jelly Babies.

More than one.

The special orange ones for optimum food colouring manic overload.

 They worked.

Especially on chatterbox Hope.

All the way back Puddle jumping :-)

Great kids Buddy

Here are some of the photos of the views





Somewhere up in the magnificent blue sky are 4 Buzzards.
There were actually 5 but one was on scout duty










After the Jelly Baby fix, we headed back.
I had a brief chat with a chap on the other side of the track about the flooding and the Fens, and then allowing just enough time for
the Orange Food Colouring to take effect, we splashed our way back through puddles to the car.

With some more rather fine scenery

Hamish having a MAD moment at the lake.
Just ONE of many






And then we were back at the car. Time to go home
It was a rather excellent short walk.

Carl's two had taken to the dogs.
Even the smiling one.

I was scheduled for a 28 mile off road bike round to Wicken Again in the afternoon.
Well, someone had to do it, and the weather was just too good to ignore.
Especially in light of the forecast for the rest of the week.

So, Thanks Carl, and I believe Hope and Ashley came down from
the Orange Sugar High some time later in afternoon.

 OOPS!

BROOKS GTX TRAIL SHOES REVIEW

After the demise of my truly excellent Reebok Trail Shoes that they sadly no longer make

Originally like this
After 18 months Hard Graft
and several hundred miles
(at least 700)
I had to find a NEW pair.
I like Innov 8's for comfort, but not so much for running daily off road, and especially as they have the life expectancy of 

a Butterfly in a Wind Tunnel.

I often use NEW Balance, but having wider feet it means I need an E fitting in that.
And being a cheapskate I was NOT going to pay full whack.

So eventually (having used them in the past for Road Running, I went for a pair of Brooks GTX


I got these from SportsShoes via Amazon

Out of the box they looked good.

They did come up slightly smaller in fit than my Reeboks, or the Innov 8's
I have broad feet (not quite Hobbit) so need a wide fitting
But as long as I was using thin socks this was no problem.
They did feel tight in my Sealskinz, but since they are GTX that should NOT be a problem

So, several months and a few hundred miles later, how are they doing?




Very little wear on heel cup or stitching.
Good Quality
Little sole wear


COMFORT

This is a totally subjective thing.
Never judge a review on comfort unless the person has YOUR FEET, YOUR BODY and YOUR BRAIN.
Meaning if it ain't you it probably is not mission critical.

I have found them reasonably comfortable with the correct socks.
As I say unlike the Brooks shoes I have had in the past, I thought they came up slightly smaller. Probably about a ½ size
But they were fine, and I am still using them.

WEAR & TEAR

These have lasted really well so far.
They have been used since about October, and the weather to say the least has been WET
They have been trough MUD HELL and back.
I would say on average they do about 25-30 miles a week minimum.
So, doing the Maths at say 4½ month = 18 weeks at 25 a week, that is at the very least 450 miles

I have done all my running & walking with them OFF ROAD.
Well, they are TRAIL SHOES.
There is very little sign of wear on the uppers or the sole as you can see.
And more importantly, there is NO wear on the stitching in the heel cup, which is brilliant.
Because apart from wear on the soles, and fraying, this is for me the biggest failing of the Innov 8's

So, wear and tear is very good for me.

WATERPROOF

There is NO SUCH THING as a WATERPROOF shoe
But these have been quite acceptable.
Easily as good as the Reebok's and my old New Balance, and the Roclite GTX's
The upper is mesh, and with some pace, they do not get breached.
Stand in a puddle with water over the mesh, then they DO leak.
Plunge your foot into a deep puddle and they fill with water, and that is it.
They have a Gortex lining and it WILL take time to dry.

BUT, having said that, they dry reasonably quickly.
You do need a stiff breeze, some time or a lot of Newspaper and a radiator.

GRIP & STABILITY

The Stability has been good.
On normal ground, the grip is also good, even in the wet.
Both walking and running and on various terrain.
The weakness appears to be in mud, where the sole is not quite up to the job.
I found in slippery mud, they slide about and you tend to lose most of the grip.
OK, they are NOT fell running shoes, and they are NOT Cross Country spikes, but they need more grip in mud.
Especially when you need that extra grip on the edges.
For me it just was not there and I slid too much.


OVERALL

So, would I consider another pair? YES, at the right price
Would I get a ½ size bigger? YES
Will my NEXT pair of Trail Shoes be Brooks? Probably NO
Should you buy them at the full asking price? NOT in my opinion

That's it really.
And No Music???
What is going on??

You can always click below ........................


Tina Dico - The Other Side 





2.02.2014

A SMALL LIMP ROUND SWAVESEY & (Abstinence)

Sunday 2nd Feb 2014

I say a limp, because since last weeks blat along Fleam Dyke, I have had a return of the calf twinge.
So rather than really tear it, I have been very good all week keeping it iced and stretched and all manner of medical shit like that.

So it was to be a gentle stroll (no running) to have a bit of a look at the flooding Fens.

Swavesey is a good location to start, because it is an easy route out towards Needingworth or Fen Drayton.

Snowy White - Bird Of Paradise


The map is to give a rough idea of where I went.

I am guessing this, since I did not bother with maps, but knew roughly where I was going to go, give or take the odd flood or 10.

So I kind of went out this way, and kind of detoured.

Even when not flooded and in sun, the walk round here are quite nice.

The advantage of today was 3 fold.


  • It was Sunny
  • It was very wet
  • Not so many people out
I say not so many.
Luckily I got there after the Cambridge Hash, or it may have proven awkward
Especially after they bulldozed the already muddy paths into a frenzied quagmire.

But enough of that.

We parked up near the pub and with idiot young pup Hamish on a lead (for the safety of all) we headed off to the track.

I had not made my mind up at this point where to actually go, so we went kind of the wrong way, which is why we had to walk about a km later along the GUIDED BUSWAY to pick up the track I really wanted.

Which brings me to the BUSWAY.

Fucking great signs saying do NOT walk or ride on the busway.
Buses running in both directions about every 30 min I guess.

We stayed on the wide but rather underwater in places track that runs parallel.

Quite a lot of fucking idiots on foot and bikes cycling along it.

What? You cannot ride through the fucking puddles.

So after a while, and after crossing the road to Over we went along and then off rightish to follow the track out to the Ouse.

This follows the river on one side and fields on the other.

OR at the moment, A Fucking Great Lake on all sides.

I met a bloke briefly walking a spaniel, who said

There were COWS in that field the other week.


That'll be the one.
Can you spot the Cows?

Actually it looks like this from every place you look more or less.

I am not going to describe much else.
It was quite beautiful out there today.
Except for under foot.

Underfoot was WET
Where it was not wet it was VERY VERY WET
Where it was not that wet it was THICK OOZY SLIPPERY SQUELCHY MUD

In fact in places it was so muddy, that a foot deep 20 metre long puddle was a joy just to get the crap off the trail shoes.

YES I had shoes on not wellies like most people
YES I had bloody wet feet

They are dry now.

OK, maybe not the shoes.

So some photos .... 

 View across the fields (WET)



All fields.
They are swans.

In fact, there was a fantastic array of water birds out today.











 This large trunk by the edge was bobbing up and down in the wind.
See the short video at the end





video

Two short videos in one of the windy flooded Fens today

Towards the end, I stupidly (remember the calf issue) tried to run on tip toes through a particularly long puddle.
Bearing in mind that I had already been slipping and sliding on it for ages anyway.
And the fact that my feet were already bloody soaked 
(so what the ***k was the point of running through it eh..)

Now running puts a strain on the calves.
Running on tip toes puts added strain on them.
Running on tip toes in slippery wet muddy puddles puts even more strain on it.

I felt it go again.
Just like last week when I was trying to get along Fleam Dyke in the Thunderstorm, when it went again.

So it is all my fault.

A weeks worth of recovery buggered up in a second.

I will ice it again, and NOT try running on it for at least 3 weeks.
Biking and walking appears to be ok.
It may be longer than 3 weeks if I have to go and have the knee operation on the cartilage on the left knee (second time for that one).
But that will depend upon the insurance coughing up.

I have said it before.

My BODY appears to be rejecting me.

Fair play, most people have.

So what will next week bring.

I am thinking I may have to go and earn some money.

AND That's a Bastard ....

On top of that, I have decided to do a bit of an alcohol DETOX.

So far the next month, maybe a bit longer, once I have cracked it
(OK, NOT THE TGOC, that is IMPOSSIBLE)

I have decided to go ALCOHOL FREE.

And I don't mean FREE ALCOHOL!

I mean NO ALCOHOL

Yes I know.......

But why???

Well, to be honest, I was just drinking too much.

Alcohol can be subtle like that extra biscuit
It just creeps up on you.

One day you are 3 stone overweight.
One day you are drinking 30+ units a week.

Neither is good for you.

I have already cracked the weight issue.
I was only 2 stone over, BUT that was 2 stone too much, and that is gone.

Now I have NO IDEA how many units a week I was doing.
It varied.
But after a long tough day/week, it is so easy to hit a glass or 5 of something.
When that something is spirits on occasions that ain't good.

So, to preserve my insides before it is too late, I am going on an alcohol free sabbatical.

I will let you know how it goes.

I am ONLY on day 2 and the fact that I want a drink reinforces that fact that 
I should definitely NOT have one.

It has to be done!